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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

Munster aim for bonus point win in Italy

Province aiming for five more points as they hope to end season top of their Conference.

Munster celebrate their win last week over the Kings.
Munster celebrate their win last week over the Kings.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Johann van Graan said his men can’t take Michael Bradley’s Zebre for granted and has challenged his players to go to Italy and deliver another bonus point display.
Munster, who are second in Conference B, are at a new PRO14 Stadio Giovanni Mari north of Milan this evening (6.35pm kick-off, eir Sport) where they take aim at a ten-point haul from the two games after their break.
The province had a poor Christmas schedule which culminated in being dumped out of the Champions Cup but bounced back with a record 68-3 win over Southern Kings.
There are six changes in all with Ireland hooker Niall Scannell captaining the side for the first time having missed out on Six Nations selection again.
“Every team spoke about that 13-week block. Everyone loses certain players along the way,” said van Graan. 
“We lost a few influential guys and we lost some close games but that’s all in the past and it’s lovely to have a break from rugby return fresh and readjust.  
“Now it’s about the next opponent and it’s Zebre who have been really good at home and that’s tough for us. It’s up to us to rock up and get the five points. 
“Last season, we got the bonus point in literally the 79th minute with Rory Scannell.  
“They’re a tough team and you respect every team.”
There are three changes in the backline where Sam Arnold and Rory Scannell form the new midfield partnership, Craig Casey comes in at scrum-half.
Up front, Darren O’Shea starts in the second row with Chris Cloete at openside flanker and Jack O’Sullivan wearing No 8.
“This part of the season is about your squad. Some guys who played well against the Kings won’t play, not because of performance, but you have to develop your squad,” said van Graan. 
“It’s important guys from the academy, who will get their chance, it’s who they play with and who is around them.”

Zebre: J Laloifi; P Balekana, J Elliott, T Boni, P Bruno; F Brummer, J Renton; D Rimepelli, M Ceciliani, E Bello; M Kearney, I Nagle; M Mbanda, J Tuivaiti, R Giammarioli.

Replacements: M Luccardi, R Burgnara, M Nocera, L Krumov, G Biagi, N Casilio, P Paolo, E Lucchin.

Munster: M Haley; C Nash, S Arnold, R Scannell, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, C Casey; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; F Wycherley, D O’Shea; A Botha, C Cloete, J O’Sullivan.

Replacements: K O’Byrne, J Loughman, S Archer, G Coombes, T O’Donnell, N Cronin, D Goggin, D Sweetnam.

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Match details:

Zebre v Munster
Stadio Giovanni Mari
Kick-off: 6.35pm
Live on DAZN, Eir Sport & Premier Sports
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales).

About the author:

John Fallon

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